How Arsenal could line up next season as Mikel Arteta plans a £200m overhaul to his squad
As the final whistle blew on Arsenal’s disheartening 3-0 loss to Brighton on Sunday, leading to the collapse of their title aspirations, disappointed Arsenal fans slowly departed the Emirates Stadium. However, they could find solace in the fact that the season had been filled with remarkable memories.
Under the guidance of Mikel Arteta, the team exhibited remarkable growth, determination, and skill, bouncing back from the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League in the previous year. Their unexpected challenge for the title, which few had anticipated at the beginning of the season, showcased their progress.
Once Arteta takes the time to recover from this setback and reflects on the season, he will undoubtedly feel an immense sense of pride in witnessing the development of his young team over the past year.
The upcoming summer is anticipated to be significant for the club as they gear up for their first Champions League campaign in seven years. With a substantial squad overhaul on the horizon, Arsenal is expected to make noteworthy changes.
According to reports, the Gunners are set to have a budget of over £200m at their disposal, enabling them to be more flexible with their spending. Additionally, they may generate further funds through the sale of various first-team players and squad members.
Reiss Nelson’s contract with Arsenal is set to expire at the conclusion of the current season. He has declined any contract offers thus far, as his primary aim is to secure more playing time by moving to a club where he will have greater opportunities on the field. Similarly, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, and Emile Smith Rowe might also consider departing from Arsenal due to limited playing time.
On another note, Folarin Balogun, who has been in impressive form during his loan spell at Reims in Ligue 1, is garnering interest from clubs across Europe. Valued at around £30m, Balogun is hesitant to return to Arsenal if he is not guaranteed a significant role in the team and fears being limited to sporadic appearances.
In a surprising turn of events, Granit Xhaka, the Swiss midfielder, may also be permitted to leave Arsenal, as Bayer Leverkusen has expressed a genuine interest in acquiring his services.
There have been numerous speculations linking Arsenal to various players for the upcoming season. Some of the notable names include Declan Rice, Wilfried Zaha, Moussa Diaby, Moises Caicedo, and Marc Guehi.
With these potential transfers in mind, ArsenalBrief.football has envisioned how Mikel Arteta’s side could line up in the next season using a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Goalkeeper – Aaron Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale has had an impressive season guarding Arsenal’s goal, accumulating 13 clean sheets in 36 games. His exceptional shot-stopping abilities have often been the key factor in keeping his team competitive in matches.
Considering that he is only 25 years old, Ramsdale is still relatively young for a goalkeeper. Having previously played for Sheffield United and Bournemouth, he is expected to be a crucial figure in the Arsenal squad for the foreseeable future.
While he has made a few mistakes recently, Ramsdale is still held in high regard and aspires to become the first-choice goalkeeper for the England national team in the near future.
Right back – Ben White
Although his natural position is in the center of defense, Ben White has adapted remarkably well to playing on the right side of the backline this season. He has appeared in every league game for Arsenal and has shown great comfort in his new role.
In addition to his defensive prowess, White has significantly enhanced his attacking contributions, tallying seven goal involvements throughout the season. This improvement has solidified his place ahead of the dependable Takehiro Tomiyasu in the defensive pecking order.
White faced a challenging period when he had to withdraw from the 2022 World Cup with the England national team due to personal reasons. However, he has demonstrated resilience and made a strong comeback from that difficult moment.
Centre back – William Saliba
The impact of William Saliba on Arsenal’s performance is evident when analyzing the statistics before and after his back injury.
During the initial 27 games of the season when Saliba started, Arsenal accumulated 66 points and conceded a mere 23 goals. This strong defensive record played a significant role in their title challenge.
However, in the nine games that Saliba has been absent due to injury, Arsenal’s form has suffered. They managed to secure only 15 points during this period and alarmingly conceded 17 goals, which contributed to the downfall of their title aspirations.
Despite his injury setback, Saliba has had an outstanding first season as part of the first-team squad, following multiple loan spells away from the club. If he can successfully recover from his injury, the 22-year-old is expected to be a crucial figure for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal in the upcoming season.
Centre back – Marc Guehi
Marc Guehi has made a significant impact since his transfer from Chelsea to Crystal Palace in 2021 for a fee of £18m. He has consistently impressed and even assumed the captaincy at times this year.
Guehi’s strong performances caught the attention of the England national team, resulting in his inclusion in the squad in 2022. Since then, he has earned three caps for the Three Lions.
Arsenal’s scouts have taken notice of Guehi’s displays, particularly in a position where the Gunners have faced difficulties, especially in the absence of William Saliba. His performances have left a positive impression on the Arsenal scouting team.
Although Gabriel Magalhaes has generally been dependable for Arsenal, he has been prone to making costly errors during crucial stages of the title race, as exemplified by conceding a penalty in the 2-2 draw against West Ham.
Moreover, Arsenal’s lack of depth in the center-back position has been exposed on occasions when Rob Holding and Jakub Kiwior have faced difficulties. In this context, Marc Guehi would offer a high-quality alternative.
At just 22 years old, Guehi is regarded as a rising star with immense potential. Acquiring him would not only bolster Arsenal’s current defensive options but also secure a long-term solution. It is worth noting that his transfer fee could potentially reach £50m, making him a valuable but costly addition to the squad.
Left back – Oleksandr Zinchenko
Oleksandr Zinchenko has emerged as a significant asset for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, despite their recent setback in the title race. His leadership qualities and overall quality have been a major positive this season.
Zinchenko has not only provided a reliable and solid option at left-back but has also been vocal and influential within the squad. His presence has even kept Kieran Tierney, a highly regarded player, out of the starting lineup at times.
Arsenal’s decision to acquire Zinchenko for £32m has proven to be a successful move. His versatility to tuck inside and contribute to the team’s midfield has become an integral part of their attacking play. As Zinchenko enters the prime years of his career, he is expected to continue being a key figure for Arsenal, both defensively and in their build-up play.
Central midfield – Declan Rice
Declan Rice has established himself as a highly coveted player in the transfer market, thanks to his exceptional performances for West Ham since his breakthrough in 2017.
At just 24 years old, Rice has already amassed an impressive 240 appearances for West Ham and earned 41 caps for the England national team. His skill set and potential make him an exciting prospect for any club.
Arsenal has been frequently mentioned as favorites to secure Rice’s signature and is reportedly preparing to initiate talks for a potential transfer. Mikel Arteta is keen on bolstering his squad with top-quality additions, and Rice fits the bill. However, concerns have been raised over the potential price of the deal, as West Ham is likely to demand a fee surpassing £100m.
If Arsenal manages to complete the signing, Rice would provide an immediate injection of quality to their midfield, representing an upgrade over the performances of Granit Xhaka, who has impressed this season.
Acquiring one of the Premier League’s standout midfielders would also serve as a significant statement of intent from Arsenal, signaling their ambition to compete at the highest level.
Central midfield – Moises Caicedo
While it may be unlikely for Arsenal to sign both Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice, the club has a longstanding interest in the Brighton star.
Caicedo has been a revelation since his debut for Brighton against Arsenal in April 2022. He particularly impressed in their recent 3-0 victory at the Emirates, even while playing in an unfamiliar right-back position.
Arsenal came close to securing Caicedo’s signature in the January transfer window, but Brighton stood firm on their £80m valuation and are likely to demand an even higher fee in the upcoming summer.
At just 21 years old, Caicedo possesses significant potential and is expected to continue improving. If Arsenal were to acquire him, he could become an integral member of the team for the next decade.
Considering Thomas Partey’s dip in form towards the end of the season and the aging profiles of Jorginho and Granit Xhaka, there is a clear need for Arsenal to reinforce their midfield options.
The prospect of having both Rice and Caicedo operating as a double pivot in midfield is indeed an enticing one, with their partnership holding great promise for the Gunners.
Right wing – Bukayo Saka
Describing the impact Bukayo Saka has had on Arsenal this season is challenging, as the Hale End academy graduate has become a symbol of Mikel Arteta’s emerging young team.
Saka’s contributions have been remarkable, with 13 goals and 11 assists in 36 Premier League appearances. His outstanding performances have put him in contention for numerous end-of-season awards, and it’s clear that he will continue to be a key player in Arsenal’s squad for years to come.
Not only is Saka a vital figure for Arsenal, but he has also established himself as a key player for England under the guidance of manager Gareth Southgate. He has displayed great leadership and bravery while representing his country, even though their title aspirations were all but extinguished.
Overall, Saka’s impact on both club and international levels has been immense, making him a crucial player and a symbol of the bright future that lies ahead for Arsenal and the English national team.
Attacking midfield – Martin Odegaard
The impact of Arsenal’s club captain, Martin Odegaard, has been truly phenomenal, as demonstrated by his impressive contribution of 15 goals and eight assists in the Premier League.
Odegaard leads by example through his performances on the pitch rather than through vocal motivation. At just 24 years old, the Norwegian international represents another symbol of Arsenal’s promising future.
Over the years, Arsenal has had a mixed record with team captains, but with Odegaard at the helm, they appear to be in capable hands. His performances and leadership qualities have made a significant impact on the team, providing a positive outlook for the club moving forward.
Left wing – Moussa Diaby
Arsenal is reportedly interested in signing Moussa Diaby, the talented forward from Bayer Leverkusen and the French national team. Diaby has had an impressive season in Germany, contributing with 14 goals and 11 assists across all competitions. He played a crucial role in Leverkusen’s resurgence under coach Xabi Alonso.
Having initially broken through at PSG but later leaving due to limited playing time, Diaby has showcased his inherent talent. He has earned nine caps for the French national team, highlighting his quality on the international stage.
Valued at £50m, Diaby has accumulated 97 goal contributions in 169 games for his club since joining in 2019. His addition would undoubtedly enhance Arteta’s attacking options, providing additional depth to the squad.
This potential signing becomes even more relevant considering the expected departures of fringe attackers Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson in the summer.
Diaby aligns with the profile of young, high-quality players that both Arteta and sporting director Edu have targeted in recent years. His potential for further development makes him an appealing prospect for Arsenal as they continue to shape their squad for the future.
Striker – Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha, a legendary figure at Crystal Palace, is expected to be one of the most highly sought-after Premier League players this summer as he approaches the end of his contract with the club.
According to reports, Crystal Palace has offered Zaha a contract worth £200,000 per week, but the forward has yet to make a decision regarding his future. While the Eagles are keen to retain him, Zaha also has options abroad, with several clubs in Europe and the Middle East expressing interest. Additionally, he is being considered by Arsenal as a potential signing.
Securing the services of a proven goalscorer in the Premier League on a free transfer would undoubtedly be a shrewd move, even though Zaha is 30 years old. His experience and ability could make him a valuable asset for any club, and his availability on a free transfer adds to his appeal.
While Wilfried Zaha primarily operates as a left winger, he has also showcased his versatility by playing as a forward in recent years. Considering the depth and quality Arsenal possesses in wide positions, deploying Zaha as a striker might be the optimal role for him at the club.
Challenging Gabriel Jesus, who is currently the main striker, would be a demanding task for Zaha. However, Jesus’ goal-scoring record has been relatively modest since the start of October, which has hindered Arsenal in their pursuit of late comebacks. Although Jesus contributes significantly to the Gunners’ build-up play by dropping deep, Zaha’s strength lies in making dynamic runs behind the defense, offering Arteta an additional attacking option.
By incorporating Zaha as a striker, Arsenal would benefit from his willingness to exploit spaces and provide a different attacking dimension. His presence could enhance the team’s ability to break down defenses and create goal-scoring opportunities, ultimately bolstering their prospects of a more successful campaign in the upcoming season.
How Arsenal could line up next season as Mikel Arteta plans a £200m overhaul to his squad